What is virga?

August 27, 2008 7:15:34 PM PDT
William Bryant of Philadelphia asks: What is virga?

Erica's Answer:

Virga is precipitation, such as rain, that doesn't reach the ground. Snow virga is also possible. Virga happens when clouds precipitate into a very dry atmosphere. The dry air below the cloud soaks up the precipitation like a sponge, and all that rain and snow evaporates before it has a chance to reach ground level.

Virga happens occasionally in our area. To locate virga, look for dark streaks below the base of a cloud. If the streaks don't reach the ground, you're looking at virga!

- Erica


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